Are you looking for an easy way for your child to learn multiplication? Over the past month Tristan has been trying out Times Tales by The Trigger Memory Co. for our latest Schoolhouse Crew Review. Has it worked? Let’s find out.
What is Times Tales?
We received the downloadable version of this program (it’s also available in a DVD version). It contained 2 mp4 files and 3 pdf files. The bulk of the learning is done through watching the mp4 videos, which are large files so they may take a little while to download.
Two of the pdf files each contain flashcards, printable dice and worksheets. The 3rd file is an answer key.
The instructions on how to use the program is contained at the beginning of the first video. All you have to do to learn the upper times tables is to watch the two videos (about 30 minutes each), do a little review with the printable flashcards, and that’s it! What could be easier?
The concept is so simple and fun. It’s based on mnemonics. You know the old trick of remembering what to purchase at the grocery store by seeing pictures or stories in your mind for each item and putting them together into a story? We did this in a high-school class and for 20 years I could still remember most of that list!
How do you learn multiplication with this?
The video introduces you to the characters involved. Mrs. Snowman is the number 8, 4 is a chair, 3 looks like a butterfly…you get the picture.
Then it continues with short stories about all of the characters. Children remember the stories and retell them with everything in the right order.
Then the equations are asked and kids can recall the story and the order of events which gives them the answer. Amazing!
There is a spot at the end of the video where kids pause the recording and retell each story. Then they have on-screen flashcards to practice with.
For a little more hands-on practice, the printables come with two versions of flashcards. One has the story characters on them to help prompt the memory. The second set are just ‘regular’ flashcards.
There’s also a set of dice for each level that you can print on cardstock, cut out and glue. Then you roll the dice and answer the equation that lands.
Tristan can be quite a perfectionist at times. This showed through the first day when he was upset that he didn’t remember every story and couldn’t answer all of the questions before the time ran out….I explained that I did’t expect him to do it all in 30 minutes – after all, how long did it take us to learn our times tables?
After this, I knew that I would remind him before watching that he just had to watch, he didn’t have to remember everything, just take it a day at a time. He watched every day for a week and each time he knew more answers and became a little quicker!
After your child is confident in the first set, then it’s advised to wait a week and just practice with the flashcards and dice before moving on to the second half. Tristan still wasn’t sure about starting the second half but really surprised himself when after the second viewing he was shouting out answers to me across the house! He was finding his confidence!
For each video there are three worksheets, one with the character prompts, one without, as well as a crossword. For the second half I wasn’t home when Tristan decided to do the test and did the one without the prompts first and scored 15/16 on his first attempt. We have a few copies of these and Tristan does them with a timer to see if he can beat his personal best. He’s been doing well and surprising himself with his new knowledge!
After the multiplication is done, there’s a little work with division as well. This begins with the form ‘which is missing?’ An equation is shown with one of the numbers/characters missing and Tristan had to remember which one was missing in order to solve the equation. He was certain he wouldn’t be able to do it….but he had every one correct! What a sneaky program to slide some division in as well!
Does Times Tales Work?
Yes, for Tristan Times Tales definitely did work! Although Kallista is still a bit young for the upper times tables, she’s even picked up a few of them from listening in while she works on other projects.
I would recommend that children have a good foundation in understanding how the times tables work first, before using this program. I imagine that’s part of the reason why this only covers the upper times tables, not the complete set. But as for a way to remember the tables, this is so much more fun than rote memorization!
I’m keeping the program on my desktop so that in a year or two Kallista can again watch the videos and learn her times tables. I already know it works for her.
If you’d like to see how it works for yourself, the website has a sample for you to watch here.
To read more reviews about The Trigger Memory Co. by the Schoolhouse Review Crew, click on the graphic below and follow the instructions. You will find 100 honest reviews by the Crew. If you’d like to know more or would like to follow The Trigger Memory Co., you can connect with them through their website and Facebook.